2 New LDL Cholesterol Genes Found
Genes Affect Levels of LDL "Bad" Cholesterol, Study Shows
Feb. 7, 2008 -- An international team of scientists today announced its discovery of two genes that affect LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels.
Those genes might make good targets for new drugs that lower LDL cholesterol, the researchers report.
Meanwhile, here's what you can do about your cholesterol while scientists put together pieces of the puzzle:
(Do you have family members with high cholesterol? Talk about it on WebMD's Cholesterol Support Group board.)
LDL Cholesterol Genes
The new cholesterol genes were found by researchers including Manjinder Sandhu, PhD, of England's University of Cambridge.
They studied DNA from more than 11,600 people in five studies. Two neighboring locations on a certain chromosome (chromosome 1p13.3) were linked to LDL cholesterol levels.
One of those locations is close to the PSRC1 gene. The other is close to the CELSR2 gene. Neither has been linked to lipid levels before.
That same stretch of chromosome 1p13.3 affects the odds of developing coronary artery disease, note Sandhu and colleagues.
But if your LDL cholesterol is too high, don't blame it just on those two genes.
Many genes are involved in LDL cholesterol. The two newfound genes only account for about 1% of the variation in LDL levels among study participants. And cholesterol isn't just about genes; diet and exercise also make a difference.
Sandhu's team only had access to DNA samples from people of European descent. More diverse studies are needed, notes editorialist Ronald Krauss, MD.
Krauss works at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute in Oakland, Calif.
The study and editorial appear in the Feb. 9 edition of The Lancet.